Dump truck crash injures two in Centereach

July 15, 2011 7:25:41 PM PDT
A dump truck lost control, flipped over, and landed on a car in Centereach.

It happened around 3:30 p.m. Friday at Nicolls and Hawkins Roads.

There were two people trapped inside the vehicle and it took rescuers some 40 minutes to get the victims out.

One person was treated and released with just minor injuries.

The minivan's roof was crushed when the dump truck rolled onto it.

Even the truck's load of sand fell on top of the victim's vehicle.

You can't even see the driver's side of the minivan anymore and that's where Raphael Nunez was sitting Friday afternoon.

He is in pain, but his tears are tears of joy.

"He's happy he'll be able to see his kids and enjoy life with his kids," Nunez's translator said.

With the help of a translator, the 38-year-old married father of two talked about the accident.

At about 3:30 in the afternoon he was heading home.

At the intersection of Nicolls and Hawkins Road, the last thing he remembers hearing is a horn honking.

Then, rescue teams reached into twisted steel to get him out of his minivan.

He was pinned on the driver side of a vehicle that barely existed anymore.

"His head was between the top of the car and the top of the seat," said Dr. Sulin Chung, of Stony Brook University Medical Center.

It took, according to some witness accounts, about 40 minutes to get him out.

Even ER doctors are amazed his injuries weren't more serious.

"It's amazing how he's doing so well. He had some neck pain, but no fractures in his neck," Dr. Chung said.

The prognosis is good, he will make a full recovery, and he doesn't have any broken bones.

"I'm just thankful that he's here, I saw the pictures and I'm just thankful he's alive," said Marleny Nunez, the victim's sister.

This is a family that has a lot to be thankful for right now.

Raphael said he considered taking his kids in the car with him this afternoon.

His kids are ages 10 and 2, and they are waiting for their dad to come home, and he will.